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Help Selecting SAN: Dell MD 3220i or EMC VNXe3150

Posted on 2014-04-14
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I am getting ready to purchase a low-mid range SAN for a test and development VMware environment. I plan to run iSCSI for the storage network. I will be running around 25 VM's, mostly static IIS servers but a couple application and 1 SQL server. My 95% percentile IOPS was around 625 and max throughput around 698 MB/s.

I have been looking closely at the VNXe3150 and the Dell MD3220i SANs which both have very similar functionality, features, etc. I would be going with a 24 drive configured using 24* 300GB SAS drives or possibly 18* 600GB SAS drives. I will also be using 3 existing ESXi servers as hosts. Virtual storage or vSAN is not an option for this project unfortunately.

Does anyone have personal experience with either storage solution and/or a preference?

Thank you!
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Question by:AIC-Admin
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Bembi earned 2000 total points
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Just some technical infomation, as you made some measurements.
A physical disc can make arounf 200 IO/s, so to realize your measurements, you have to provide enough disc in an array to realize it. For 625 + overhead, I guess 4 + parity is needed, i.e 5 disc RAID5 or 6 disc RAID6 to fulfill the minimum. Nevetheless I would calculate more than your 95% as IOs can spin up under load. So you even should investigate your peak needs, and this determines, how you contruct your logical layout.

From the thoughput perspective, there are two thoughts. One is the physical limit for the throughput. 700MB/s is what you measured now, The thpughput depends from our technical limits. I.e. 8 GBit / s fibre channel result to around 1000 MB/s while 10 GB ethernet results to around 750  MB/s. Beside the network what is involved, the controller plays a role, so the maxiumum throughput of the controller is even a limiting value. A good controller can reach more than 1 GB/s and more.

Caching is an option, what sometimes twists the measurements, but can even me a accelerator. As more memory the controller has and as faster this memory is, as more the controller cache can influence the "feeled" throughput. As it is only "feeled" as a cache buffers the communication to the hard discs, it depends from the applications you use. Of course web servers are cache friendly, SQL usually do not profit so much from the controler cache.

To maximize the througput, chek the controller specifications and provide the infrastructure what can deliver it (i.e. FC 8 or 10 GBit ethernet). To maximize the IOs, put as much disc into an array as needed to realize the IOs.

And keep in mind, current values arebased on your current capabilities, not necessarily on the power, the applications could take. And future applications with need more power.
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by:AIC-Admin
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Both solutions appear to meet my needs as far as performance goes. I am just stuck deciding on a vendor since I don't have experience with either of their SAN solutions. I use EMC's Networker backup product which works great and I have used Dell MD direct attached storage units before which also work great.

I was hoping someone could say I have had this good or this bad experience with one of the other vendor.
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